Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beast of Burnaby - the BCA behemoth swallowed its opponents whole

Official Results, 2011 Municipal Election, City of Burnaby, B.C. There are 146,123 registered voters on the Municipal list. Only 32,953 bothered to vote!! Clearly - No issues, no turnout.

Election Twins - Burnaby's free bi-weekly press - the NEWS LEADER and BURNABY NOW delivered their election editions to every home in the city on November 18, with wrap-around BCA - Corrigan advertisements. Very effective. Congratulations BCA!

BCA Sweep - All Candidates Victorious

Another civic election has come and gone. Results? A total BCA sweep. The BCA took the mayoralty, every council seat and every school board seat. In a democratic society that shouldn't happen... unless an angry electorate is throwing out a hated regime. But in Burnaby the opposite is the case. The electorate has returned a loved regime to power, rewarding BCA with a second total smack-down of the alternative civic party - TEAM Burnaby.

I don't object. I may not care for the council much, but I like Derek Corrigan, respect the job that he's done, and realize that we have the best mayor this side of the Fraser River. Still, democratic dictatorships are dangerous. The integrity of our mayor is the best hope we have of keeping individual councillors clean, and municipal spending within reason. The weekly press is not our watchdog, nor does it have to be. Vigilance is the responsibility of the individual.

TEAM is not a Team

"TEAM Burnaby" bills itself as a "non-partisan civic organization". The sad truth is that it is not a team, and it is not non-partisan, and that is why its candidates were destroyed on November 19th. Since its founding TEAM Burnaby has been hobbled by the fact that its power brokers (those who choose the candidates) don't even like each other. TEAM is composed of TORY and LIBERAL organizers who pummel each other during every Federal and Provincial election, and then make a token attempt at being friendly, in the hope of taking a few seats away from BCA. It's bizarre. Mismatched shoes will never become fashionable. The BCA prevails because it is an effective alliance of the local NDP machine, backed by the financial clout of the important unions. - You don't stalk a beast of that size unless you are packing an elephant gun.

I read in the BURNABY NOW today that "about 20 TEAM candidates and supporters" showed up at their Election Night Rally HQ to watch the results. The TEAM mayoralty candidate, Mr. Tommy TAO, didn't even bother to show up. Shame! Nor did perennial civic candidate Mr. Lee RANKIN. On the TEAM website today I read a promise to regroup and try again in 2014. That's one promise most of us hope they do not bother to keep. What is required, if we are to restore competitive democracy to civic politics in Burnaby, is a clean piece of paper, a new civic party, and hall full of people who stand for community and not tired old political allegiances.

23.3 % Voter turnout in Burnaby

The Burnaby NEWS LEADER, in its election post-mortem, reported today that VOTER TURNOUT on November 19 was 23.3 per cent. Only 34,035 registered voters in Burnaby bothered to cast a ballot on Saturday. The front page story on Friday was "Candidates pull out all the stops in the last days"(BURNABY NOW, Nov. 18) Maybe so, but clearly all of that pipe organ music did not draw much of a crowd. The truth is that there was no campaign to follow or to generate any interest among the electorate. Only some tub thumping among school board candidates created any sound at all. But that was all noise, and nothing resembling a march.

What comes next? You guessed it. Salary increases for mayor and council. The civic employees get their tickets punched. Taxes go up. Municipal fees increase. And TEAM goes back into its cave to hibernate for another three years. Somebody seal that den, while they're sleeping!

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